Editorials, Opinion

$1M mark met on M-SNAP’s quest to help area animals

In 2021, the Mountaineer Spay Neuter Assistance Program (known more commonly as M-SNAP), reached a major milestone: The program had given out $1 million worth of vouchers to get animals fixed.

There will be a belated celebration for reaching the $1 million milemarker on April 9 from 1-5 p.m. at the Morgantown Mall. The event will be pet-friendly and will also feature various animal welfare groups from around the area in addition to activities and prizes.

M-SNAP has done amazing work in our community, supported by donations, grants, area sponsors and its thrift shop ReTails, located in the Morgantown Mall.

Spaying and neutering pets — or, eliminating their ability to reproduce — is a key factor of M-SNAP’s overall mission to reduce animal euthanasia in Mon County, and M-SNAP makes the procedure financially accessible by giving out vouchers to those who can’t afford it.

When animal shelters become overcrowded, sometimes sending the animals across the Rainbow Bridge is the only option left to the facility. As a community, we can help keep shelters and humane societies from overflowing by keeping animals out of them — and a big part of that is reducing the number of animals born.

Cats can start reproducing as young as four to five months old (still kittens themselves), and they can have two to three litters per year, with one to eight babies in each litter, according to the Roice-Hurst Humane Society. So one cat can give birth to up to 24 kittens each year.

Dogs can start reproducing at six months old and can have two, even three, litters per year and, according to PetMD, large dog breeds usually have six to eight puppies (but can have as many as 15), while small breeds usually have one to five puppies. Meaning one large dog can have around 24 puppies per year, while little dogs can have up to 15.

Responsible pet owners may try to find homes for an unexpected litter themselves, or enlist the help of various animal welfare groups, or take the babies to a shelter where they can receive care and hopefully find forever families. Irresponsible pet owners dump unexpected litters on the side of the road; in the case of abandoned cats especially, they are likely to become feral and remain unfixed, contributing to cat colonies and overpopulation.

The most responsible pet owners get their animals fixed so the above never becomes a problem.

To request a spay/neuter voucher from M-SNAP, call 304-985-0123 — do not email or message them on social media. If no one answers, leave a voicemail in mailbox #1 with your name, phone number and a good time to reach you. Since the organization is run by volunteers, it may take a little while for someone to call you back, so please only leave one message. If for some reason the voicemail box is full, M-SNAP asks that you keep calling until you are able to leave a message.

And if you’d like to support M-SNAP and its good works, you can donate to them. If you prefer check, make it payable to M-SNAP and send to P.O. Box 4335, Morgantown, WV 26504. You can also choose M-SNAP as the charity you’d like to help when shopping on Amazon Smile; the program will receive a percentage of the sale, with no additional cost to you.